“Our cabin is located right where those five lines come down the mountain.”
She stared intently at the mountains for several minutes. Then the following conversation took place…
Jadyn: “Can we play outside at the cabin?”
Me: “Of course.”
Jadyn: “Will the tigers get us?”
Me: “Jadyn, there are no tigers in the mountains!”
Jadyn: “When do they come down?”
Jadyn: “The tigers!”
Me: “Jadyn, there are no tigers!”
Jadyn: “But you said the cabin was right where five lions come down!”
Few things in life can short-circuit our efforts to live fully alive more than fear. I’m not talking about the kind of fear that keeps us from running across the street in heavy traffic, or holds us back from jumping over the fence into the polar bear cage at the zoo. I’m addressing the kind of fear that keeps a sweet three year old from the joy of playing outside. “Imaginary lions” kind of fear.
Fear paralyses full grown adults from creating beautiful art, tackling worthy projects, and even keeps them from exploring new relationships. Here are some questions that can help determine how real your fears are and help banish them from your life.
1. Is your fear based on reality?
Ninety-nine percent of the fears in our life are focused on imaginary lions that either don’t exist or live deep in the forest. I knew a man who would never get on an elevator because he feared it might fail. What if someone breaks into my house? The sky is falling! These phobias and obsessions are often identified as clinical anxieties that cripple normal development. Yet millions of people live in some stage fear based on lions that don’t exist.
2. Is your fear based on failure?
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I fear failure. That kind of fear will affect your ability to move forward in every area of your life. I’ve painted pictures and shown them to no one. I wrote letters I never sent. I planned trips we never took. If I couldn’t do it perfectly I gave up. Someone asked best selling author and speaker, Andy Andrews, “What if I fail?” His answer rocked my world. “You will fail! Do it quickly and get it over with.” He went on to say, “Look at failure as the opportunity to do it better next time.”
3. What is the worst that could happen?
I recently wrote book of lighthearted devotionals called Lighten up and Live. Because of fear, I wasted days deciding whether to even start the project. Lions attacked from everywhere! As I procrastinated on a project a wise counselor suggested I ask this question, “What is the worst that could happen?” He instructed me to write each fear down.
The longer the list got, the more ridiculous and wimpy each of the fears looked.
What if it doesn’t succeed?
What if people are offended by the humor?
What if they compare my little book to the really great inspirational writers of the day?
Then I hit the mother load.
The undeniable legitimate question. WHaT iF I DiE?
Immediately I was reminded of a scripture:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
And how did God give us this marvelous freedom from fear? By removing forever, even the fear of death. As I write this post, (and fear how it might be received) my sweet sister and two beloved friends are fighting life threatening cancer.
My pitiful fears of failure are vaporized in the presence of their courage, faith and peace! Yes, peace!
Occasional tears? Yes!
Concern for family? Yes!
A desire to avoid great pain? Yes!
Fear of death?
Each of these dear people cling to God’s promise that nothing on this earth or in all of the universe can keep us from the love of Christ. Because of the love and sacrifice of Christ, death has lost it’s sting. Fear takes a back seat to love every time. Their lives inspire me.
One of the greatest ways to vaporize fear’s power is to realize this truth… fear only has the amount of power we give it.
I cherish your comments.
Please pray for my friends.